Responding to a report, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) warden Jared Strouss spotted a small, wet, female mountain lion kitten sitting on some rocks on the beach about a mile south of Islay Creek in Montana de Oro State Park late Sunday afternoon.
"I don't know if she fell in, but when I saw her she was sunning herself, and I wanted to give her time to get back up and into the wild on her own," he said. "Sometimes it's better to back off, and they [the animals] will find their way out, but it didn't work that way this time."
When the authorities checked the following morning they found that the lion kitten still hadn't left the beach and returned to her mother. According to Strouss she was seen on the beach, occasionally moving around on the sand. "She should have been able to get up [the cliff]," Strouss said. "Lions climb very well."
At that point it was decided that the little lion needed rescuing.
Initially CDFW biologist Bob Stafford and a Cal Fire firefighter intended to tranquilize the young lion, but it turned out that they were able to just grab the kitten and stuff her into a bag. The little lion was then lifted from the beachside cove and evaluated.
Weighing 25 pounds and estimated to be around 6-months-old, the young animal appeared to be in healthy condition.
"She's a little tired from where she was at, but she was in pretty good shape," Strouss said. "We gave her some fluids and antibiotics, and she is on her way to a wildlife lab in Sacramento."
The mountain lion may stay there a month or more and will eventually be released back in Montana de Oro, he said.
"I think they wanted her to have a bit more fat on her bones," Strouss said. "She was pretty feisty by the time we got her some fluids."